Beginning in 1961, the United States began using small destroyers to maneuver off the coast of North Vietnam to gather as much electronic and signals intelligence as possible.
On August 2nd 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox was performing one of these DESOTO patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin when it came under attack from three North Vietnamese patrol boats. The Maddox called for air support, and with the assistance of four F-8 Crusaders, was able to repel the attack with minimal damage done to the ship and at least one of the patrol boats likely sunk. Two days later the Maddox and the USS Turner Joy were on the same DESOTO patrol, and due to the stress from the previous attack and freak weather conditions, the both reported that they came under attack from the North Korean Navy, although this was later disproven.
After hearing about both attacks President Johnson decided to escalate military action against North Vietnam, and delivered a speech to the American people shortly before midnight on August 4. While the officers involved in the second incident tried to back down from their assertions about the second attack, this information never made it from Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to President Johnson.
Had Johnson known about the truth of the second "attack", he may have waited for more information before deploying additional military assets against North Vietnam - McNamara and other advisers had previously recommended bombing North Vietnam on at least four separate occasions. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, signed on August 5, 1964 gave the US President the power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without a declaration of war from Congress. This caused the number of American soldiers in Vietnam to rapidly increase during the end of 1964 and the beginning of 1965.
Request Info on How to Join the US Army
For Department of Defense personnel and others authorized to access Army Knowledge Online (AKO), you will need to click on the above image to find links on how to access AKO or obtain assistance with your official AKO account.
If being an infantryman isn't dangerous enough for you, maybe you would be more interested in serving in Special Forces. Read online about what it takes to join the Green Berets or become a Ranger by clicking the image.
Discover all of the jobs or MOSs (military occupational specialties) available in the US Army by clicking the above image. You can see a sorted list of jobs from infantryman to counter-intelligence to heavy artillery mechanic.
Learn when and how to wear the camouflaged Army Combat Uniform or the dressy blue Army Service Uniform, as well as approved hair, tattoos, jewelry, and other aspects of your appearance by clicking the above image.
Don't be the poor guy at boot camp that salutes a sergeant or casually walks up to a captain. Click the above image to take a look at all of the enlisted, warrant officer, and officer ranks and memorize them.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) determines if you are eligible to join and what jobs you qualify for. Click the image to read more about the ASVAB and test your knowledge with the two practice tests.
Going to college? ROTC can help pay for your education, give you excellent military skills and knowledge training, and direct you into an officer position after graduation. Visit the ROTC section by clicking the above image.
Learn more about serving in the US Army Reserves. Find out the duty requirements, length of enlistment, and other information by clicking the image to go to the Reserves section of Army.com.
When you join the US Army, what are the various locations you could be stationed? Click the image to see how others have rated the installations and some knowledge online that may make your move there more enjoyable.
The US Armed Forces uses a phonetic alphabet to help when communicating. It will prove to make your life better than "OK." In fact, if you click the above image and memorize this system, you'll find life to be "Oscar Kilo."
Save yourself some push-ups from your drill sergeant at basic training by clicking the above image to read and memorize the Seven Core Army Values (LDRSHIP), General Orders to all soldiers, and the Soldier's Creed.
Catch up on the latest Army-related news stories. Become informed on developments in benefits. Find jokes to tickle your funny bone. And read survival tips from the US Army Survival Manual. Our bloggers' posts are collected here.